If you are near Jersey shore…
This FRIDAY (August 16th) go meet Raven Howell in our release party for Glimmer, Sing of Sun!
Hosted by Ostara’s
Bring the kids, there will be storytime and fun activities! :D
If you are near Jersey shore…
This FRIDAY (August 16th) go meet Raven Howell in our release party for Glimmer, Sing of Sun!
Hosted by Ostara’s
Bring the kids, there will be storytime and fun activities! :D
This July has been pretty slow for me, in terms of being productive.
I got all kind of health issues, starting with a car that rolled over my foot (no broken bones, don’t worry, but still hurts a bit, poor foot) following with a bronchitis and then a laryngitis, so, my only option was to take it all easy lol
On the bright side, I spent some time with my parents and took some days off work (winter holidays in Argentina are in the middle of July usually)
As a summary of my learning journey in arts so far, I’d been taking some realistic painting lessons. Enjoyed it a lot, learned tons, it really blew my mind. I’m excited to start working with oils and see where it takes me.
I hope you’ve had a wonderful July so far!
I’m doing a workshop on a traditional painting style that was born in Buenos Aires (Argentina) called Fileteado Porteño, that started as a way of adding some decor to those grey cars of that time. Then it scaled up to make whole decors on the outside of buses, and all kind of store main signs.
It’s a very bold full of details and quite symmetric style, and I think not only is a very argentinian thing as Tango, but it really looks cool on things :D
So, here I am doing my first complex compositions, sketching, learning the basic shapes, so I can make few signs for my home, like one for the toilette lol
I’m still on the sketching and learning stage, will soon go into the first painting stage :P which freaks me out because you need to have such a steady stroke with this style, so neat and clean. And I’m so super extroverted for painting hahaha
I love learning stuff that has nothing to do with my way of working in arts. I’m sure it will add somehow to my artwork. And if not, it is always fun to do things different than usual.
What about you? Have you tried learning something different from your usual?
Pre-ordering our upcoming picture poetry book now, Glimmer, Sing of Sun, comes with perks - yippee 🙃
VALID BEFORE June 10, 2019.
Raven will mail you a FREE set of 8 of these cute blank notecards with envelopes that I illustrated.
How cute is that? :P
Contact me with your info as soon as you place your order, so we know where to send them and you get these!
Ordering can be done through an online bookstore like Amazon/B&N or through our publisher:
My Helena P. Blavatsky's Pencil Portrait is on a just released book of theosophy by Dr. Pablo Sender (you can check his Youtube channel HERE, he has some awesome spiritual talks and material)
Published by FOHAT Productions ❤️🤗
I’m beyond thrilled :D
About the book itself,
In this book Pablo Sender explores the writings of Mme. Blavatsky, tracing her teachings on the evolution of the higher consciousness throughout her voluminous writings. This book presents her teachings in a systematic way, explaining her frequently obscure words so that the earnest student can grasp their meaning.”
I finally got my illustrator copy of Glimmer, Sing of Sun! (sequel to Shimmer)
I’m over the roof, SO happy!!! and they look great together, don’t they?
Release date: June 11
You can get it here https://amzn.to/2DyLH02
“Glimmer is magical, a sparkly celebration of the songs the seasons sing. It’s gorgeous!"
-Liz Brownlee, National Poetry Day Ambassador, author of Apes to Zebras, an A-Z of Shape Poems (Bloomsbury)
It has been a super happy and whimsical project to work in, I adore Raven’s fun poetry.
Also, this book is the sister and sequel book to Shimmer - Songs of Night
SO, time to do a Cover Reveal! Thank you all for your support and love, much appreciated!
Hi everyone, I haven’t been blogging too much, I had some overall deadlines to deal with.
One of them included finishing the picture book Glimmer, Sing of Sun! that will be soon cover revealed :) so excited about that. The book is the sequel to the first book I illustrated Shimmer - songs of Night by Raven Howell (available everywhere where books are sold)
Anyway, besides finishing that, I had to make another project, a sweet board book, about colors, that I cannot tell or show you anything about yet, so, wish me luck for that.
This is a short post, as I’m just trying to give you all a heads up.
I’m focused myself on some personal projects now, as usual. Having birds…
Have a fab week ahead!
While I keep working on Glimmer, Sing of Sun!
(the companion book for Shimmer - Songs of Night) Raven and I wanted to wish you all Happy Halloween!!!
Beware of the glows,
And the shiny and Shimmer
Til next year our new book
arrives with a Glimmer!
- by Raven Howell
My current projects...
1. Glimmer, Sing of Sun!
Time to start illustrating this poetry book for kids, the sequel to Shimmer-Songs of Night. Again written by the award-winning author Raven Howell.
This one is about the sun, day and spring happy times, compared to the night themed one, Shimmer. I'm honoured I'd been asked to do Shimmer's sequel.
2. Finished some illustration courses and now is time to try to put everything into practice. So, I may get myself into some personal projects. The levels of frustration I'm having right now are quite high but I know those are the feelings that make you grow, that push you to go further. So, I may breathe and try new things again and again until, hopefully, I'll see some improvement on things I wanna do different in my illustrations. It's a fun thing you never stop learning and improving also :)))
3. I've been focusing my energy in a overall sense, and I cleaned and organized my online accounts. Not that anyone cares but I feel happy and fresh about it :)
Ok, I have no more news for now, but my lately online silence may be near to finish soon, as I feel I'm reaching new art goals and getting the strength needed for them.
I'm mostly self-taught in illustration. Why "mostly"? Well, let me tell you why.
It all started in 2009 when my dad sent me a surprise birthday gift: a drawing tablet.
I was teaching about computers in college, about programming in particular (something I also love)
The gift made sense as I was always making and creating stuff when being a little girl, and I never stopped. I had no idea drawing tablets existed. It was a super wow moment for me.
So, for the next decade I started illustrating in my own way, and even learned with some YouTube videos how to create seamless patterns and use them for fabric design. I had lots of fun.
At a point, I felt stuck.
I felt I wasn't able to express myself beyond the same structure I always did in my illustrations at the time. I felt I couldn't choose different colors, or make an interesting composition that wasn't my character in the middle of the canvas. I felt it was time to find where to study visual arts. I knew I wasn't going to find any illustration related career in my small town, so I was happy to find anything about Visual Arts.
I found there was a career, a Visual Arts professorship, so I entered.
The first year was really good, as I had my first interactions with paint on a very loose Painting I course where the teacher taught us to play as if we were kids with paints and experiment it. No techniques, but lots of experimentation and get to know lots of mediums.
The Drawing I course was good also as I had never tried to draw in any academic way, so we had to do lots of Still life drawings, and I learned a bit how to hold a pencil and shadow things. I got introduced to volume, perspective. My very first shy steps into that.
Then I had the History of Art, a huge summary, and I also had Composition I.
It was a very useful year to be introduced to Visual Arts.
The second year, I was totally disappointed by it. We were supposed to learn to paint in oils. But in Painting II we were left alone all classes and had to paint as we saw the still life there. So, we got no techniques and I thought I could totally do that myself at home... Drawing II was supposed to teach us how to draw portraits, and again, techniques (and you do have very specific techniques for drawing faces) were not taught, the teacher kept saying "you are doing great!". Let me tell you, I wasn't. I knew my drawing had NOTHING to do with the model not with any real part of a face haha.
But as I needed to end the year having 10 huge final portraits and 40 small portrait sketches to finish that course, when I found a private local artist that was willing to teach me how to draw, I was in.
Best investment in my whole life.
I've been taking portraiture lessons for about 5 years now, once a week.
As you can see, I've done most of my path on my own, but when I found and got this portraiture drawing teacher, it really paid off in time. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for all those drawing lessons and infinite patience and hard work.
Learning to draw, is KEY.
You will improve in all, ALL, your art areas if you learn to draw.
Doesn't need to be portraits. But learn to draw. Get a teacher.
Better if you find a local artist that has a realistic style to teach you how to draw.
So, of what I've learned so far, these would be all my tips to you, from my own experience:
LINKS (I've used)
Society of Visual Storytelling (SVS)
An online school that is way affordable and which main focus is children illustration. Their founders and main teachers are professional illustrators and well known in the industry. Will Terry, Jake Parker, and Lee White. I've learned lots with them, and let me tell you, not only I really wish I found them earlier, but the more I get to know them, the more I love them.
William Kemp Art School
William has even a good YouTube channel of his own. I particular love his painting style. He has not only some courses in his personal website, but you can also find some courses by him in Lynda.com for example. Go check on him if you want to learn to paint with acrylics or oils for real.
There are some great courses on how to use Photoshop for those that want to start working digitally. Buy yourself a Wacom tablet if you plan to work digitallly. A Wacom Cintiq would be what to get if you really want to be serious about it. But at least get a Bamboo model, small tablet from Wacom for starting out and have some digital fun.
A former Disney animator, another master of many in this world. Go check his courses in his website and decide for yourself.
Creativity feeds itself in the same process of creating stuff. No excuses, go create.
** disclaimer: I got nothing from any of the websites and people I'm recommending in this post, I'm just sharing my personal opinion and what I love and what has been useful to me so far.
I’ve been asked many times which pencils do I use for drawing my portraits.
My favourite brand is KOH-I-NOOR and followed by Faber Castell (in particular their line Castell 900) I also like pencils like Stabilo or Lyra, when I need and can’t find the first two.
I use these pencil codes:
HB, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B
6B, 7B, 8B
H, 4H, F
I usually take a 2B or 3B to draw the first structure of the portrait, the first idea of shape and proportions, which I will for sure fix later. May use the hard and light pencils here, like the H or the F to make a first light grey layer of the whole skin of the face.
I’ll use 2B, 3B and 4B for adding later my first layers of finer detail (eyes, for example) and first shapes of shadows and lights.
Then, I will start working heavily on shadows, and I will use my darker pencils, from 6B to 8B.
I love KOH-I-NOOR ones as I feel them like soft pencils, you can easily make a gradient grey layer with one of them. They respond easy to pressure. I love that. And they are usually cheap here. Faber Castell, I love those too, but they are usually a bit more expensive.
The eraser I use is one of those kneadable erasers. I don’t have a particular favourite brand yet for them. I’ve been using Lyra for a while now. It’s ok for me.
Papers, are also important for drawing. You need some texture to it. If you try to draw in the usual copy paper, it won’t grab the graphite from your pencil, so it will make shadowing and erasing way more difficult if not quite impossible ha. I’ve been using paper from Canson, also from Conqueror (I think it’s from Fabriano) that’s the best I can get here in my town.
So, when you go out to buy some drawing paper, touch it with your fingers and feel its texture. It needs to have some texture to it, but not that much that you could actually see a texture pattern on the paper sheet as that it would interfere with your drawing, adding a whole final texture to the portrait you didn’t want to have.
Anyway, this is a short post, just let me know if you have any questions about my drawing tools :)
I remember at first I was shy and curious and totally lost on Twitter.
I had nothing to look at and got overwhelmed easily trying to find what to do in there.I spent like that, few months. While I kept using other social media.
Then I realize it, it hit me, Twitter is such an AWESOME place. It's a place where you can get connected with people that have your same interests. But in such active fun ways. So self-improving and at least so much fun.
Suddenly I had a reason to be there, I started searching illustrators. I just love the huge talent out there, such amazing artists, so many things to see.
I had hours during the week just checking on those fantastic artworks.
I remember my brain started seeing those hashtags. Yeah it said, people talk in organized ways so you can find what everybody is saying about a particular topic.
Oh it can be so much more. I love hashtags. I mean, such power in them.
As an artist and children's illustrator I found people doing Twitter events, using hashtags. To name a few: #colour_collective, #PortraitChallenge, #Inktober
Of course the list goes on, those are just few I particularly love :)
You get to do something according to what the organizer of the event says, or the rules, and then depending if you have to post all together at some day and hour in the week, or if you can take your time, you do your artwork following the guidelines and then, TA DA, you get to see what people did for that same event, they get to see yours. Such happy sharing experience.
For example, #colour_colletive posts a different colour each saturday, and the rule is to create something that has somehow that colour, any medium and post all together on fridays at 19.30 GMT. Anyone can join in. The Twitter account is @Clr_Collective.
Lots of awesome illustrators usually participate on that one.
#PortraitChallenge has less people, I guess cause well, drawing/painting portraits is indeed a challenge. But I particularly love it as it gives me a chance to keep practicing and improving and I even got engaged in doing two versions, a realistic one according to the image they provide (@StudioTeaBreak) on thursdays I think, and a more me-version of it (a catru-ish one :)
Those two go along the whole year, one new asignment every week.
But for #Inktober, oh well, that's now a global well known event, that runs thru 1 to 31 of October of every year (thanks to Jake Parker @mrjakeparker, one of the teachers from @SVSLearn among other cool things) and the asignment here is to draw with traditional ink on paper, a drawing EVERY single day of October. The goal? to improve yourself on inking techniques. Really another awesome event.
To sum up
So, Twitter for me is something way beyond just showing pretty things and sharing. Is simply amazing how you get to do things with others that could be on the other half of the earth far away from you, and still share and participate together.
I LOVE it. I think it has become in the middle of the busy life we all have, one of my fave social media places :)
In order to make Twitter something useful and awesome for yourself
1) Choose a topic: your passion, your career, your main hobby, I don't know, choose a topic that means the world to you.
2) Check who you want to follow that is an expert on your chosen topic.
3) Then start checking and looking for hashtags people in that topic is using and start checking on those. In some months you may end up using Twitter more than Facebook :D
I’ve been asked several times so far, what do I use, what ink is it, what pens, what paper and so on.
So, when approaching a watercolor I usually draw first super lightly with a light pencil, especially to mark the structure of what I’m going to draw and paint. Not too much detail but I want to have quite well the structure of the subject/object. I will then use ink pens. I cannot get here in Argentina everything I’d love to get, or as cheap as it can be in USA for example, so that adds some adventure in getting many of my fave tools haha.
You can find a lot in the style I work googling about ink and washes.
The best paper for watercolor is the one from the brand ARCHES. That one, unless I get someone who travels to USA or Europe and brings one block to me, it's really expensive in Argentina. For sure 4 times the value in dollars (then you do the math with our local currency and such, it ends up crazy)
So, I usually use way cheaper papers, but yet pretty decent ones. Like Fabriano or Canson. Good ones also if you want to start with watercolors. The thing is that for watercolors you really need a good paper. Really Good One. Period.
And that means among other things the paper MUST have tons or be pure cotton.
So, buy Arches if you can, else get something like Fabriano or Canson.
I work with PIGMA Micron pens for doing the fine line of ink in my watercolors. And I usually do it before coloring it. They won't bleed when you apply the water later upon the lines. I would use a Pentel Pocket brush if it wasn’t a bit expensive here (although I will buy one that I will cherish lol). The Pentel Pocket brush is a pen brush, that you can buy and change its ink cartridge. And you get a kind of ink brush ready to go. But that also would fall in my experimentation zone for now (and I haven't tried it yet so I can't tell if it will bleed later or not when applying the watercolors)
So, pencil first for the structure.
PIGMA Micron pens usually for doing all the ink line, and I use cross hatching a bit (inking techniques that I won’t discuss here so I don’t overwhelm you) and I do like organic gawky lines too.
I may erase a bit of the pencil lines after I’ve done all the inking.
Then I use upon all that, watercolors itself.
My fave watercolors because of their quality, color duration, texture, and pigments itself, are the Winsor & Newton ones (they have many options; ideally you should get the Artist quality ones, but for starting out I'd go with their student quality ones). And for a cheaper version, I use the Reeves ones too, that have a nice quality-price relation. But if I could have all of them being Winsor & Newton... I wouldn't hesitate at all :D
I love working watercolors in layers, and usually I use 3 layers (that meaning, I paint overall, let it dry, paint another layer, let it dry, and paint the last layer) of course sometimes the artwork needs more layering. But for sure it will have 3 layers at least. Layering is really key to build the shadows in steps.
I tend to use wet on dry techniques more than wet on wet (watercolors techniques).
When you use the wet on dry (the brush is wet, the paper where you apply is dry) you end up having a lovely border, an outline in the color while you pass the brush, I love that).
When you use wet on wet (brush is wet, and you previously added a layer of water to paper making it wet, with a clean brush... or perhaps you're applying a new colour on a zone you already passed the brush and it's still wet) then you get this magical movements of the new colour in the wet surface, doing those happy accidents, that's how watercolourists call it :)
But I don’t have too many rules, I simply love and enjoy those splashy colors.
Personally, I think that in becoming a great artist, under any tool or technique, you need to develop your eye and your hand. Your eye to see shapes. To see light and shadows. To see details and yet to see simple shapes. To see beauty in the ordinary. To see volume. Then you practice tons to train your hand to be able to manifest the things your eye sees.
I hope I've tempted you and you start painting with watercolors too ;)